fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "search for a reliable person" (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "i will like you to " (a common phrase found in 419 scams)
- "a security company " (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "the consignment" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "hundred thousand united state dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
- "united state dollar" (this email uses bad English)
- "robert mugabe" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- +27732201736 (South Africa, prepaid mobile phone)
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
Fraud email example:
From: MONICA ELSWORTH <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 15:09:25 +0200
Subject: THANK YOU FROM MRS ANITA SMITH
*From Mrs. ANITA SMITH *
* INVITATION FOR PARTNERSHIP *
*I am well confident of your capability of executing this
transaction for the mutual benefit of both families, believing that you will
not expose or betray the trust and confident I am about to repose to you. *
* I am contacting you with the greatest delight and personal
respect. I am Mrs. Anita Smith, the wife of late Dr. Micheal Smith, we used
to work in three tobacco farms in Chipping together with my late husband
that was murdered by the forces loyal to President Robert Mugabe due to
their support in acquiring his land and property during the crisis in
Zimbabwe last year. Which continued and led to the lost of several lives of
foreign (white) farmers as reported on cable network news (CNN) and by the
British broadcasting Corporation (BBC). *
* I got your contact courtesy of the South African chamber of commerce
and Industry business Directory here in **Johannesburg** private research
for a reliable person, for partnership investment overseas. Believing you
are sincere and trustworthy person and of transparent honesty and capable of
handling this transaction to the best of your knowledge on assisting my son
and I, in transferring the sum of US$ 11,500, 000.00. (Eleven Million, Five
Hundred Thousand United State Dollars Only), into a foreign account for safe
keeping pending on arrival to your country for our investment plan. *
* You may need to know how this fund originated. The sum was
inherited from my late husband who was assassinated by Robert Mugabe's aides
in view of acquiring his land and property. I got to know of this fund when
our family lawyer, approached me few months ago with some documents that my
late husband had filed with him in the file, I realized that my late husband
(blessed memory) has written "will" which he specifically pointed my
attention and I quote. *
* My darling wife, I wish to draw your attention to the sum of US$11,500,
000.00 (Eleven Million Five Hundred Thousand United state dollars) which I
deposited with a security company in **South Africa** . All documents
concerning the fund is filed with our family lawyer and you can make lay
claim of the fund in case of my absence on earth only by death. I made an
agreement with the Security Company that my foreign partner will stand as a
beneficiary to lay claim of the money. *
* The beneficiary will come forward to make claim of the
consignment. Dr. Micheal Smith, my late husband advised me through my
lawyer, that incase if he dies that I should look for a foreigner who will
stand as the beneficiary of the fund so that the fund will be transfer to
his or her account for partnership investment. From the above you can
understand that my future especially that of my son depends strongly on this
money. I will like you to assist us in transferring this money into your
account for investment. *
* You can contact my son Kennedy in **South Africa** on
more details, as he has been to **South Africa** to arrange with some
bankers that will assist in this transfer. I am interested in any business
you think can be very viable in your country as long as the business will
not fail me because the lives of me and my son depends on this money.*
* For your assistance in this regard, it will interest you to know
that we will be willing to come to terms with you regarding your reward for
helping us actualize this matter. It is equally important to state here that
considering the nature of this matter, we will require that it is handled
most discreetly. Kindly contact us using the above particulars upon receipt
of this letter for execution details and other necessary discussions. Your
private phone and fax number will be needed for easier communication thank
you in anticipation of your trusted and genuine assistance I remain, *
* Yours Sincerely, **
Anita Smith (Mrs.) *
* **TEL:+27-73-220-1736 *